THE EDITOR, Sir:I felt moved to share my layperson observations in response to Aubyn Hill's comments in the Financial Gleaner of October 11, 2013. We are too reliant on overseas items. I agree that this is to our detriment, with regard to foreign exchange, employment in Jamaica, and our economy.
However, there are some points that you did not mention.
We live in an extremely undisciplined and disrespectful country. Our production industry is not very different. I know of a number of examples of jobs given to Jamaican manufacturers who have repeatedly delivered products and services late. They show little respect or regard for deadlines or agreements.
Another point is the almighty bottom line. With salaries frozen and tremendous economic difficulties, we will always be in a chase to the lowest bidder. Our strong trade union movement (I am not complaining) ensures that we do not have workers in 'sweat shop' conditions. We do not have workers living five to 10 per room.
Tolerance of these conditions is why countries are losing manufacturing jobs to Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh and other south Asian countries. The example of the Bangladeshi factory collapse is instructive. A lot of United States retailers were manufacturing in these locations to keep prices down.
And finally, that unifying expense for all manufacturing, electricity. We are hugely uncompetitive with regard to this input cost. The Government, Office of Utilities Regulation, and others have been trying to seek better power options.
Based on the 360MW plant bidders (and the associated controversy), we are not doing so well. Our energy costs ensure that we will never be competitive. Unless we address this, and soon, our manufacturing sector is doomed to failure.
PROUD JAMAICAN GIRL